Residents of Agbado, Odewale, Opeilu, Oposuru, and Itoki communities in Ogun State have rejected plans by the Nigerian Railway Corporation to demolish their houses to pave way for the construction of rail tracks.
Our correspondent gathered that some houses in the communities were demolished in 2017 for the project with a promise by the Federal Government to compensate those affected.
However, three years after, some of the landlords have not received any compensation.
The communities’ lawyer, Olayele Faturoti, told PUNCH Metro that in March 2020, the Federal Government returned to the areas and reportedly said more houses needed to be demolished for the railway project and barricaded residents of the communities from having access to their houses.
The lawyer, who spoke for the communities, wondered why landlords, whose houses were demolished in 2017, had not been compensated.
He said while the residents were not opposed to the project, they could not leave their fate in the hands of the Federal Government, who had failed in its promise to compensate those who earlier lost their homes.
Faturoti said letters written to the NRC to demand compensation for the victims of the 2017 demolition had not yielded any fruit.
He stated, “In 2017, the NRC started construction work in that corridor and some houses were marked and demolished; while some of the landlords were paid, others were not. Some people got as much as N20m.
“In 2017, engineers came around to start marking houses for demolition and barricaded every house so that the residents didn’t have access to the streets or their houses, and they were not compensated. When we wrote a letter to the NRC, it said it would get back to us; but if we do not get anything from them, we will be forced to take legal steps.”
The letter written to the NRC read in part, “Before the demolition of properties, there was no notice from the Nigerian Railway Corporation of its intention to demolish properties along its corridors in Ogun State. The Chinese Engineering Construction Company’s engineers visited and did the markings of the various houses and commenced demolition the same week in 2017.